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Credit rationing and crowding out during the industrial revolution: evidence from Hoare's Bank, 1702-1862

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  • Temin, Peter
  • Voth, Hans-Joachim

Abstract

Crowding-out during the British Industrial Revolution has long been one of the leading explanations for slow growth during the Industrial Revolution, but little empirical evidence exists to support it. We argue that examinations of interest rates are fundamentally misguided, and that the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century private loan market balanced through quantity rationing. Over 90% of all loans were made at the maximum permissible lending rate, as set by the usury rate. Hence, earlier investigations such as the one by Mirowski et al. could not undertake a valid examination of the crowding-out hypothesis. Using a unique set of observations on lending volume at a London goldsmith bank, Hoare’s, we document the impact of wartime financing on private credit markets. Whenever public borrowing rose above trend, private lending declined markedly. We conclude that there is considerable evidence that government borrowing, especially during wartime, crowded out private credit, and that the magnitude of the effect is important enough to explain at least partly why British growth during the period 1750-1850 was relatively slow.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 42 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 325-348

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:42:y:2005:i:3:p:325-348

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Temin, Peter & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2004. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," CEPR Discussion Papers 4221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Mirowski, Philip, 1981. "The Rise (and Retreat) of a Market: English Joint Stock Shares in the Eighteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 559-577, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Alejandra Irigoin & Regina Grafe, 2012. "Bounded Leviathan: or why North and Weingast are only right on the right half," Economic History Working Papers 44492, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Efraim Benmelech & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2007. "The Political Economy of Financial Regulation: Evidence from U.S. State Usury Laws in the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 12851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kiril Danailov Kossev, 2008. "The Banking Sector and the Great Depression in Bulgaria, 1924 - 1938: Interlocking and Financial Sector Profitability," Working Papers 76, Bank of Greece.
  4. David R Stead, . "Fixed Rent Contracts in English Agriculture, 1750-1850: A Conjecture," Discussion Papers 05/01, Department of Economics, University of York.
  5. Joachim Voth & Mauricio Drelichman, 2008. "Debt sustainability in historical perspective: The role of fiscal repression," Economics Working Papers 1184, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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